Friday 15 December 2017

Paul McShane now below Shane Duffy - Five things we learned from Ireland 2 Slovakia 2

Slovakia's Robert Vittek celebrates with team mates after Republic of Ireland's Paul McShane scores an own goal and Slovakia's second
Slovakia's Robert Vittek celebrates with team mates after Republic of Ireland's Paul McShane scores an own goal and Slovakia's second

John Brennan

Ireland scored two penalties but were unable to defeat the Slovakians. Here's what we learned from Ireland 2-2 draw at the Aviva.

1. Last night's display may have cost Paul McShane his place in the Euro 23

Creamed on the turn for the first Slovakian goal and beaten at his near post for the second, it was a poor effort from a man who had a lot to lose in this game - and probably did.

Based on these two friendlies, Reading's McShane has to have fallen below Shane Duffy in the defensive pecking order - and with Duffy not certain to travel, McShane's chances may have slipped away last night.



2. Wes Hoolahan has to start against Sweden

At 34 by the time the tournament starts, it would be asking a lot of 'Wesso' to start and finish three internationals in ten days at the Euros.

But the opening game is the one we have to win and Hoolahan is the man to give us the craft to get a goal against the Swedes. And if Shane Long is our sole striker in that match, as he must be now, then all the better. The pair work really well together.



3. Our Cyrus is no Virus

 Cyrus Christie will surely go to France as understudy to Seamus Coleman. But the Derby defender will offer an option further up the pitch on the right too.

Christie has pace, a bit of trickery, and a good cross in his right foot. He is definitely a man worth having on the plane to Paris, he could be thrown in during a game where we need a goal badly.



4. Alan Judge's chances of going to France look remote

Martin O'Neill didn't start Alan Judge against the Slovakians and that could be curtains for his chances of travelling to France.

He didn't really catch the eye on Good Friday against Switzerland, albeit playing away from his best position. But midfield is the one area where O'Neill is falling over with options and Judge needed to make a big impact over these two games.  And he didn't!



5. Bale could take the Slovakians to the cleaners

Welsh manager Chris Coleman must be delighted at the prospect of throwing Gareth Bale at the Slovakian defence in ten weeks time during Euro 2016.

If Shane Long could rip them open as easily as he did with his pace last night, what might the Galactico Bale do?

Coleman was at the Aviva Stadium last night and surely left it purring at the notion of Bale running onto through balls from Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ledley beyond the static Slovakians.

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